Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disaster and Plug in Hybrids

Disaster has struck America. It is early days yet but estimates are that the Gulf Coast has suffereded between 40,000 and 400,000 dead.

The question is what can we do to better prepare ourselves for the next disaster?

A lot of things it turns out.

I'm going to talk about one.

Plug in hybrid autos. They make a lot of sense when gasoline is hard to get. You plug in the vehicle and you are good for a short trip about 3 to 30 miles depending on how much battery is included in the vehicle.

Not much good when there is no electricity you say? Correct. So how will plug in hybrids help? With a slight modification a battery charger can work in reverse and make AC house current. Here is an excellent example of what is available today if you want to make your own plug in hybrid generator vehicle. It is kind of pricey for a single unit, however they do give volume discounts. What you get is the ability to generate 20 KW of electricity. Think of what a few thousand such vehicles on the road would mean in an emergency.

I think the first car company to come out with such a package would be a big hit.


Anonymous said...

See GM's Hybrid Silverado. It's not a plug in Hybrid, but it includes a 120V outlet in the passenger compartment and cargo bed:

It will run unattended to generate power. Outlets are rated at 2Kw I think.

John David Galt said...

The best thing the Federal government can do to prevent any repetition of this disaster is to end the federal government's flood insurance program, or at least cover only structures that have already been built.

Without flood insurance, lenders will quite rightly refuse to finance any building in a flood zone unless it has the kind of really good flood protection that doesn't exist in the US today.

For what's left of New Orleans, I suggest leaving the water in place and importing some boat-taxis from Venice.